On this, a snowy Sunday afternoon, I made the mistake of checking the email, and found this lovely missive in the Junk folder, presented in toto:
...patently obvious the imbecile Robert Lieber has never read Norman Finkelstein's book and has exactly zero idea what he's talking about.
You're really not fooling anyone with your McCarthyite drivel. What's more, any interested reader can see the glowing endorsements for Finkelstein's book from a chair at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a chair at UC Berkeley, a chair at Oxford, and a chair at Harvard, among many others. They are all outstanding scholars in their field, and unlike Mr. Lieber, have READ the book they are commenting on.
As to reliability, one ought to revisit Mr. Lieber's earlier war-mongering public stupidities, peppered with assurances of a speedy victory in Iraq greeted by adoring ‘liberatees', coupled with insistence that a "neo-con" assortment of prominent Jewish fascists did not play a central role in orchestrating a war of aggression against Iraq, plotted well before September 11th--an event they conspired to use as a deceptive pretext to mass murder.
In one such Vaudevillian item, Lieber writes: "Whether one favors or opposes the Bush policies, the former Texas governor has proved himself to be an effective wartime leader" later adding this side-splitter: "Partisanship aside, the president has shown himself to be independent and decisive, able to weigh competing advice from his top officials before deciding how to act."
"Partisanship aside", Mr. Lieber, you are a drunk! If there is anyone left in America who believes such preposterous crap, he should get in touch with me. I have some valuable property on Neptune he may be interested in.
Lieber's childish smear tactics, idiotic lies and attempts to impugn Mr. Finkelstein's scholarly credentials are a disgrace to Jewish culture and to Georgetown University.
Try another approach, you losers.
As usual, one scarcely knows where to begin. The usual invective is there ("McCarthyite drivel" – is there any other kind?), the usual arguments from authority ("a chair at…" – endorsements from furniture being so persuasive), the usual offer of valuable real estate in exchange ("property on Neptune"), insults ("imbecile"), an exceptional bit of libel ("you are a drunk"), and finally the obligatory Jew-baiting ("a disgrace to Jewish culture").
All in all, a nicely compact example of hate mail from New Orleans writer Richard Harth, A sworn enemy of Christopher Hitchens, a decoder ring carrying member of the Norman Finkelstein fan club (who savages Tom Segev for the chutzpah of disliking Beyond Chuztpah), he elsewhere offers up this delicately wrought critique of Finkelstein's detractors:
Thanks for your review of Finkelstein. Just a couple points. The first is that I'm fairly certain Finkelstein never meant to imply that other grave breaches of human rights and international law have not been committed by other regimes, such as those you mention, but rather that the US-Israeli assault on human rights and international law is unprecedented in recent history insofar as the offenses are being committed with total impunity by the most monstrously powerful states on earth, states essentially beyond the reach of any legal institution.
As to Israel in general and Sharon in particular fomenting world anti-Semitism, I was surprised to read your objection to what to me amounts to a truism. Finkelstein rightly outlines Israel's incessant claim to be a representative body of Jews everywhere, a fact coupled with broad support for Israeli policies by nearly all mainstream Jewish organizations. Given Israel's appalling, Nazi-inspired behavior which has disgusted the world, it is hardly surprising that the outcome is increased anti-Semitism. Finkelstein often makes the analogy with America's genocidal campaign in Indochina as a potent source of global anti-Americanism. Again, the results are not surprising and the U.S. government most certainly IS responsible for encouraging anti-Americanism, then as now.
Of course, a state which purports to speak for all Jews, to be the homeland for all the world's Jews and to expect allegiance from world Jewry is a far more direct source of anti-Semitism than America's war in S.E. Asia was a source for anti-Americanism, given the massive anti-war protests in this country which eventually caused LBJ to forego his campaign for reelection.
Every Jew (like every American) fully deserves to be judged on his or her merits, but if the majority of Jews (or Americans) support Israel's barbarities, then the majority of Jews (or Americans) should be castigated for it. Mercilessly, in my view.
So, Israel equal Nazis, Jews supporting Israel, result equals, uh oh, castigation. Ok, sure, No outrageous leaps of logic, abuses of history, or latent threats here. But it's always interesting to see someone's buttons pushed. Let's see what happens if we do it again. Norman Finkelstein is a lousy historian! Lousy! And he's a nasty, hate-filled man! Universities and respectable people should shun him! No matter what the furniture says.
There's a reason why it is called the Junk folder.